Pak Ou Caves – A highlight of Luang Prabang Laos

Luang Prabang has been a tourist hub of Laos and the Southeast Asia thanks to its well – preserved architecture, rich culture and lovely nature. Situating next to the Mekong River, Luang Prabang Laos has a lot to offer to its visitors besides the Old town, the ancient shrines and temples. When making a visit to this city, make sure you put Pak Ou Caves into your bucket list.


Pak Ou cave
Pak Ou caves – one of the most treasured religious symbols of Luang Prabang

Pak Ou Caves facts

In the west of Luang Prabang, Pak Ou caves is 25 kilometers outside of the city. What makes this cave special is that there are thousands of Buddha statues insides, on the rocky cliff with faces overlooking to the Mekong river. The cave is actually combines of 2 smaller caves: lower and upper one. The lower cave is called Tham Ting and closer to water level; while the upper one, called Tham Theung, is reached by climbing up some stone steps.


Buddha statues inside Pak Ou Cave
Thousands of Buddha statues inside Pak Ou Caves

Tham Ting is the place for local people burn offerings; hence you will feel more of untouched vibe when going deeper to Tham Theung. In this lower cave, nature light is in good condition and there is no difficulty in going around. The Buddha icons, mostly wooden, are scattered on almost all shelves and clefts. The second cave is dark and it is necessary that you bring a torch along with you while climbing and exploring it. In order to get inside, you will need to climb for about 10 minutes.


Tham Theung
The entrance to upper cave Tham Theung

It is said that there are approximately 4000 Buddha statues existing inside Pak Ou caves. Those Buddha images follow various of positions such as meditation, peace and nirvana. The inhabitants of Luang Prabang have a strong belief that the statues have been left in the cave for hundreds of years. Most of the statues were made of wood; and the rest of them were made of resin and even earthenware and animal bones. Then, they are painted in red or black and covered with gold.

How to get to Pak Ou Caves

There are 3 main ways for you to see Pak Ou Caves: tuk tuk, boat cruise or group tour. Tuk tuk is everywhere to be seen in Luang Prabang; thus it is such a piece of cake to catch one from the main streets to get to Pak Ou Caves. Tuk tuk driver will take you to the nearest town and from there, you will need to get on a ferry across the river.


Pak Ou Cave Tuk tuk
Tuk tuk is used to get to Pak Ou Caves from Luang Prabang

Also, getting a boat cruise on Mekong River to Pak Ou Caves is probably the most desirable and charming way for a major number of travelers. If you are looking for reducing the cost, you can join in a boat cruise with other people; please note that time schedule is inflexible in this case. Besides, some people are into a more private space; so they would hire a boat for themselves only. You can expect the boat trip lasts for 2 hours and 1 more hour on the way back.


Boats to Pak Ou cave
Boats’ owners are waiting for their guests to visit Pak Ou caves

The third way to get to Pak Ou caves is joining in a group tour of half day or full day from Luang Prabang city center. The tour will provides pick up and drop off from your hotel; so we cannot deny the convenience.

Visiting Whiskey Village near Pak Ou Caves

The name of Whiskey Village is Ban Xieng Hai and it is on the way to Pak Ou caves. Here you can easily find the traditionally homemade whiskey by the local people. Lao Lao is how local people call their type of liquor. It is produced from rice on open fire and distilled in earthen jars.


Wine production village
Ban Xieng Hai wine production village

Best time to visit Pak Ou Caves

Pak Ou caves is originally a spiritual as well as worth to visit; it is nowadays gets very touristy. Almost all tours depart for Pak Ou in the morning; that is the reason why the best time to visit Pak Ou is advisable in the afternoon. If you can book a boat trip in the late afternoon, you can witness a nice sunset on Mekong River on the way coming back. During the year, Pak Ou caves welcomes the biggest number of travelers in April; as known as the Laos New Year.

Suggested Luang Prabang tours

After all, are you already impressed by thousands of Buddha statues here? Do not hesitate to contact us for your Indochina tours to Laos. Hopefully, you will find useful information in this article to visit one of the must-see place in Luang Prabang Laos, Pak Ou Caves.

Minh Vu – Travel Specialist


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